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More About These Cards

Accordingly, the entire universe exists within a tarot deck, with each card representing a person, place, or event. These symbols are depicted in both the Major Arcana cards, which speak to greater secrets, and the Minor Arcana cards, which speak to lesser secrets. The Major Arcana cards represent monumental, groundbreaking influences. They punctuate our journeys and each stands alone as a powerful message, representing life-changing motions that define the beginnings or ends of cycles.

The Rider Waite-Smith Tarot Variations | Tarot Elements

These dynamic cards appear during major transitions, signaling distinctive moments of transformation. The cards are numbered to represent stations within our greater journey through life; their chronological order reveals the passing of time. The Minor Arcana cards, on the other hand, reflect everyday matters. These cards showcase ordinary people engaging in mundane activities, such as dancing, drinking, sleeping, or quarreling.

They suggest action that is triggered by human behaviors and appear during gentle transitions that may be temporary or have only minor influence. The Minor Arcana cards are broken up into four suits, each containing ten numbered cards and four court cards. In the Minor Arcana, the card's number reveals the stage of an event: The ace card represents the beginning, while the ten symbolizes the end. Similarly, the progression of the court cards demonstrates our understanding of circumstances on an individual level, representing either personality types or actual people.

The Page or Princess, in some decks , Knight, Queen, and King interpret circumstances with increasing levels of understanding and wisdom. The suits Wands, Pentacles, Swords, and Cups correspond to their own unique areas of life and astrological elements. Wands symbolize passion and inspiration corresponding with the fire element , Pentacles represent money and physical realities corresponding with the earth element , Swords depict intellectual intrigues corresponding with the air element , and Cups illustrate emotional matters corresponding with the water element.

These suits reveal which spheres of influence are being activated, offering guidance on how to best manage any circumstances at hand. Together, the Major and Minor Arcana cards create a comprehensive pictorial language. It is important to remember that all the answers we seek exist innately within the deck, with each card illustrating a person, circumstance, or potential outcome.

Since there are no secret puzzles or hidden agendas with tarot, the ability to discern meaning lies within your own narrative interpretation. Before any reading, be sure to shuffle or "clear" the deck. This deliberate gesture should become a meditation.

How to Read the Rider Waite Tarot Cards

Feel the physicality of the cards in your hand, visualizing your question. If you're reading for another person, use this reflective moment to get to the root of their situation and help you formulate specific queries for them. Take as long as you need. Clearing the deck is a critical first step in reading tarot cards, as it opens the pathway between spiritual dimensions. Whenever you're ready, cut the cards into three and reorder the pile, face down.

On your favorite cloth be precious with your tarot deck , prepare to pull cards for your tarot "spread. The "three-card spread" is one of the most simple and effective tarot spreads.

A Brief History of Tarot

You can adjust the categories to accommodate any situation past, present, future; yourself, the other person, the relationship; opportunities, challenges, outcomes; mind, body, spirit. The cards and their corresponding positions will effortlessly expose bonds and dynamics. But before reading the straightforward explanation of each card, take a moment to create your own story based on observation. How do the cards you drew make you feel?

What are the colors and symbols?

By Arthur Edward Waite

If there are characters, are they facing towards or away from each other? Do the illustrations seem cohesive or disjointed? Though each card has classic associations, the most powerful resource available is your intuition. Note your immediate emotional reaction: Your instincts will inform your study and strengthen your pictorial memory. Eventually, you'll develop your own systems and patterns, and individual cards will carry meanings specific to you.

Perhaps the Devil card will come to represent an ex-lover, while the Two of Wands will symbolize a new job. Your distinctive lexicon will inform your readings, allowing you to create specific narratives that can be applied to any circumstance or situation.

Don't forget, cosmic warriors, tarot provides a rich vocabulary, but it is ultimately no more powerful than a coin toss: We can energetically charge any item or action through the strength of our own spirit. Though tarot requires time, practice, and patience, we intrinsically possess all the skills necessary to produce honest and accurate divinations. The Tarot deck may be shuffled with some of the cards upright and others reversed. When the cards are dealt, leave the reversed cards in position and use the reversed card meanings to interpret them. Each suit represents the influence of one of the elemental forces.

The Wands relate to Fire. The Cups relate to Water. The Swords relate to Air , and the Pentacles relate to Earth. The Major Arcana cards also each have an elemental connection.

Tarot readings encompass a number of different spreads. A spread is an arrangement of the cards designed for a particular type of question. A card may have a somewhat different meaning depending on what spread is being used, what type of question is being asked, and the card's position in the spread. Ten popular Tarot spreads are described on our Free Tarot Readings page. The Tarot deck is composed of 78 cards. For the purpose of divination, the deck is segmented into two parts, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Minor Arcana is separated further into the group of face cards, known as the Court Cards , and the remaining numbered, or pip cards. The lessons, issues and influences presented by the Major Arcana cards tend to be of a more significant and persistent nature. Although they answer questions and influence other cards in individual readings, the Major Arcana are also about life lessons. The Fool card represents a young, inexperienced, open minded person starting down the road of life. The Court Cards are often used to represent people in the life of the subject, or the person for whom the reading is being done.

The pip cards more often represent shorter term influences, although they can still have very significant impact. The numbered cards of the Minor Arcana are also very interesting in that they represent a progression of states in the human condition.


The Tarot card meanings on this site feature Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot cards , and are indexed according to the segments of the deck. You may select either the Major Arcana, Court Cards or Minor Arcana from the links below for interpretations of the individual cards:. Divination Tarot cards represent lessons, situations, events, interactions and influences that affect people.